Best Money Transfer Apps

PayPal can take care of all your money transfer needs

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Money transfer apps, also called peer-to-peer (P2P) apps, let you transfer cash from one person to another quickly and securely. They simplify payments and also allow you to use a digital wallet to link your credit card or bank account. You can make electronic transactions and payments with just a few taps on a mobile device.

The best money transfer apps collect high app store ratings, help app shoppers shell out money safely, and involve no hidden fees. They also fit consumer-specific needs, such as international payments, social options, virtual wallet offerings, and more. 

The Best Money Transfer Apps for 2021

Best Overall : PayPal

PayPal

 PayPal

The app's robust offerings, mixed with speed and convenience, put it squarely in the winner's circle. PayPal's brand name awareness elevates it to the best overall category.

Pros
  • Name/brand recognition cultivates instant trust

  • Easy to install and use

  • Fast and secure

Cons
  • High transaction fees

  • May hold money

  • Difficult customer service

PayPal's flexible, secure, and easy-to-use money transfer tools put it above the rest. You can transfer money for free from a PayPal balance, bank account, or Amex Send account. You can also use PayPal Instant Transfer for a fee and transfer funds immediately.

PayPal offers versions of its app for iOS, Android, and Windows. It takes just minutes to download and start transferring money from up to 20 people at once. For added security, you can agree to show your name, photo, username, email, and mobile phone number on PayPal so people know it's you.

PayPal's Money Pools offer an easy way for groups of people to chip in on a group collection. Share a PayPal.Me link for a quick and secure payment option. PayPal's invoice creation feature also allows you to customize and track every invoice you send.

You can send up to $60,000, but PayPal may limit the transaction to $10,000, depending on the currency you use. 

If you accidentally send money to the wrong person, you can tap the contact's name and ask for a refund. If the individual doesn't respond, you can tap the blue pencil icon, select "disputes," and communicate with PayPal.

You can tap into PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus to keep money in your account. PayPal Cash Plus gives you the PayPal Cash Card, a debit card with a daily spending limit of $3,000 and a daily cash ATM withdrawal limit of $400 with a limit of 30 transactions per day. 

Users pay 2.90% plus a fixed fee to send money via a credit card. PayPal charges 5% to send international personal transactions using a PayPal balance, bank account, or through an Amex Send account. Credit card payments for international transactions cost 7.90% plus a fixed fee. 

PayPal keeps your information secure using sophisticated encryption. The company monitors transactions 24/7 and offers dispute resolution if you have a problem with a transaction. You can also add in the PayPal Security Key, which sends you a temporary security code through SMS when you log in. 

PayPal limits transfers to U.S. banks only and can connect with most U.S. banks and credit unions. Unfortunately, some banks, including online-only or prepaid bank accounts, can't give you access to PayPal.

Best for International Transfers : WorldRemit

WorldRemit

WorldRemit

The WorldRemit app won this category for its low fees, best upfront exchange rates, and no hidden costs, as well as its flexibility to send to over 130 countries

WorldRemit can send money to recipients within 10 minutes. Most transfers complete within 24 hours wherever recipients live in the world. When you introduce a friend to WorldRemit, you both get a voucher to use on your next transfer.

Pros
  • Quick deposit options worldwide

  • Easy to use

  • Transparent fees and exchange rates

Cons
  • Can send to a limited number of countries

  • Complex transfer fees

  • Limits on large transfers to certain destinations

The app gives you various ways to send money—through cash pickup, bank transfer, mobile money, and airtime top-up, and that's why it landed in our top category.

WorldRemit accepts most types of debit, credit, and prepaid cards issued by Visa or Mastercard. WorldRemit also accepts payment from Klarna, Trustly, POLi, Apple Pay, and more. It no longer accepts Google Pay.

To send money, download the World Remit app from the App Store and Google Play. Select the country and amount you want to send, enter recipient details and bank information. Once you pay for the transaction, your recipient will find out by SMS and email when they can access their money.

WorldRemit, approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), puts a high priority on security by implementing strict verification procedures. The company employs teams to monitor accounts for unusual activity. 

WorldRemit's large network of local partners works with worldwide banks and financial institutions. You can send a maximum of $9,000 in 24 hours and $5,000 per transaction for debit, credit, or prepaid cards. You can submit a maximum of $9,000 in Apple Pay payments within 24 hours and send a maximum of $300 per transaction. WorldRemit lists all fees and exchange rates before you execute each transaction.

WorldRemit also offers a wallet for use in a limited number of countries but any WorldRemit customer can send money to a WorldRemit Wallet

If you accidentally send money to the wrong person, WorldRemit can sometimes recall the mobile money or bank transfer transaction. In this situation, you want to contact WorldRemit as soon as possible.

Best for Low Fees : Cash App

Square Cash

 Square Cash

Cash App, owned by Square Inc., scored the highest in the low fees category because it allows users to send funds instantly via mobile app for free. Cash App stands out for its simplicity (you either pay or get paid), ease of use, and zero fees.  

Cash App also offers unique options not common in other money transfer apps, such as investment options, getting special savings with “cash boosts,” and buying and selling bitcoin.

Pros
  • Offers more than just payment options

  • Simple and fast

  • Great for money requests for friends and family

Cons
  • Must rely on another person to return money if you send to the wrong individual

  • No FDIC insurance

Cash App won because of its low 1.5% fee (minimum of $0.25) and flexibility—including the ability to buy and sell bitcoin straight from your Cash App balance. 

You can also transfer funds to a bank account from your Cash App account or store money in your Cash App account. Tap the dollar icon, enter the amount and indicate whether you want to request money or pay money. To send a payment, enter the other person's $Cashtag, phone number, or email address and tap "pay." The receiver must have a Cash App account.

Cash App lets you send and receive up to $1,000 instantly within any 30-day period. However, you can hurdle over these limits by verifying your identity. Note: the app doesn't transfer money immediately—you should have your money within one to three business days.

Cash App supports debit and credit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. The app supports most government-enabled prepaid cards but users cannot deposit to these cards. Cash App does not support ATM cards, Paypal, and business debit cards at this time. 

Cash App employs up-to-date security encryption and fraud detection technology. Cash App features PCI Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) Level 1 compliance. 

Unfortunately, sending a payment to the wrong person doesn't guarantee a swift return; you can only request the money and rely on that person's honesty to get your funds returned.

Best for Shared Bills : Venmo

Venmo

 Venmo

Venmo offers the best of both worlds—it offers a quick and easy way to send and receive money and offers a potential "parking place" for your cash. You can spend, send, or transfer Venmo money to your bank account. Because of these reasons, it won the category for shared expenses. 

You can even make the experience more interactive by adding emojis or animated stickers with your transactions.

Pros
  • Provides a social way to split money

  • Money moves instantly

  • No need to add money to Venmo to make payments

Cons
  • Past security concerns

  • No Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance

  • Fee for instant cash-out transfers to your bank account

PayPal's Venmo conquered this category because it allows for quick and easy money exchange between individuals. You can send or receive money for free through the peer-to-peer payment app, though Venmo charges 3% of the transfer total to send money via credit card. 

Venmo also charges a 1% fee ($10 maximum) for instant cash-out transfers to your bank account. You can keep money in Venmo or your bank account.

You can send money using your iPhone- or Android-based smartphone by choosing a sign-up method and creating a secure password between eight and 32 characters long. Venmo asks you to verify your phone number, email address, and bank account. 

The standard bank transfer through the ACH network to a verified checking account typically takes one to three business days to arrive. You can also choose an instant transfer to a bank account or debit card (incurs a 1% fee) which arrives within 30 minutes. Venmo should work with all U.S.-based banks.

Venmo uses encryption to keep information secure. You can add additional layers of security to your Venmo account by adding multi-factor authentication and a PIN. Note: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau raised red flags about Venmo's "debt-collection practices" through a Civil Investigative Demand in February 2021.

Venmo imposes a $299.99 spending limit, but users can submit information about their identity to increase the weekly rolling limit to $4,999.99. 

If you accidentally send money to the wrong person, you can request a return for the money you sent by mistake. If you don’t hear back or need help sending a charge request, you can contact Venmo's support team. Venmo offers no recovery guarantees. 

Read our full Venmo Review.

Best for Small Transfers : Facebook Pay

Facebook Pay

Facebook Pay

Facebook Pay took the award for its ease of transferring small amounts of money through a familiar platform. You can use Facebook Pay to make seamless and secure payments in select countries through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Portal, and Instagram.

Pros
  • Excellent chat feature for communication

  • Easy to request and transfer money

  • Can add multiple people to the money request

Cons
  • Cannot use credit cards to send money

  • Basic options only—no "bill splitting" features

  • Cannot make payments outside the U.S.

Facebook Pay won over other contenders for this category because you can easily send money or donate to causes you support with simple steps:

  1. Message the recipient. 
  2. Tap the money icon, then enter the amount you want to send. 
  3. Recipients can then tap "pay." Facebook will lead recipients through the process with specific instructions if they don't have an account.

The operating system you need depends on the app you already use. For example, for Facebook Messenger, Android's operating system supports the Messenger Version 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) app and above. Apple operating system versions that support the Messenger app include iOS 8 and above.

Facebook Pay does not have a minimum transfer amount. The maximum transfer amount tops off at $9,999. Users must fund payments using a U.S. bank-issued Visa or MasterCard debit card or PayPal account. U.S. citizens 18 or older may send money to trusted friends and family in the U.S.

Facebook monitors payments using anti-fraud technology and advanced data storage and encryption for payment card and bank account details. Notifications also send you alerts if Facebook Pay detects unusual activity. You can also use a personalized Facebook Pay PIN or a fingerprint or face ID to keep your information secure.

Once you add a payment method, your money transfers immediately. However, it may take your payment provider up to five business days to post the money to your account.

You can personalize your interactions as much as you want because the platforms offer instant messaging, audio, video, group chats, and more. 

The app only works with reloadable prepaid cards, government-issued debit cards, bank-issued Visa or Mastercard debit cards, or PayPal accounts. The app doesn't hold your money. 

If you accidentally send money to an unintended recipient, you can ask them to decline the money if they haven't yet added a debit card to their account.

Best for Bank to Bank Transfers : Zelle

Zelle

 Zelle

For bank-to-bank transfers, Zelle won because of its quick access and wide availability at most banks and credit unions. Users can head to a bank's website or directly to the mobile app to register with just an email address or phone number.

Pros
  • Widely used by many banks

  • You can still use it if your bank doesn't offer Zelle

  • Swift movement of funds

Cons
  • Can't connect a credit card to pay

  • Only works with domestic banks

  • Money is federally insured

No other app offers such an easy bank-to-bank process. Zelle can transfer money to other Zelle users through the easy-to-use app. Users can send or request money with an email address or phone number. Recipients must have a Zelle account to send or receive money. Zelle sends a text or email and a link to accept payment.

You can find the free app through the App Store or on Google Play. Enter the amount you want to send. The money goes directly into the recipient's bank account, typically in minutes. 

The Zelle app utilizes authentication and monitoring features for top security or uses your bank or credit union's mobile app.

If your bank or credit union does not yet offer Zelle, you can only send $500. You cannot request to increase or decrease your send limit.

You should know and trust the people you send money to because you can't cancel a payment through Zelle if the recipient already has a Zelle account. However, you can cancel a payment if the recipient hasn't enrolled in Zelle. Go to your activity page on the Zelle app, choose the payment you want to cancel, and tap "cancel this payment.”

Read our full Zelle Review.

Final Verdict 

Your final decision on the best money transfer app depends on your goals and preferences. For example, if you want your app to have additional features (like investing in bitcoin), gravitate toward Cash App, which offers it.  

However, for a comprehensive overall money transfer app, you can't go wrong with PayPal, which offers a suite of payment options and a successful track record to back it up. PayPal also noses ahead due to its safety features, payment protection, and handy tools for businesses.

Compare the Best Money Transfer Apps

App Operating System Minimum Transfer Fees Transfer Speed
PayPal Best Overall iOS and Android $1 Users pay 2.90% plus a fixed fee to send money via a credit card. Costs 5% to send international personal transactions using a PayPal balance, bank account, or through an Amex Send account. Credit card payments for international transactions cost 7.90% plus a fixed fee. Transfers occur in minutes and vary by bank. Debit card transfers may take up to 30 minutes.
WorldRemit  Best for International Transfers iOS and Android  Depends on the country you send from and the payment method used to fund the transfer All countries have different fees and exchange rates. Instant
Cash App Best for Low Fees iOS and Android  No minimum transfer amount Standard deposits: Free, arrives in one to three business days. Instant deposits: Subject to a 1.5% fee (with a minimum fee of $0.25), arrives instantly Standard deposits arrive within three business days. Instant deposits arrive immediately.
Venmo Best for Shared Bills Apple iOS 10.0 or Android Lollipop (API 21) or higher devices No minimum transfer amount Free to send or receive money; charge of 3% of the transfer total to send money via credit card.  Fee for instant cash-out transfers to your bank account Instant
Facebook Pay Best for Small Transfers Depends on the apps you already use  No minimum transfer amount None Instant, though the bank may take up to five days to process
Zelle Best for Bank to Bank Transfers iOS and Android $1 None, but check with your bank or credit union Instant

Frequently Asked Questions  

How Do Money Transfer Apps Work? 

Money transfer apps allow you to transfer money quickly and easily. Some apps hold your money and others transfer it from one bank to another. Some money transfer apps specifically cater to consumer-specific needs. 

Are Money Transfer Apps Safe to Use?

Generally, money transfer apps offer robust security features to protect your money. However, it's important to understand that if you send money to the wrong recipient, you may not get your funds back. Providers might not help recover misdirected funds. Only send money to people you know and trust.   

How Long Does It Take to Transfer Money with an App?

The length of time it takes varies. Some transfers occur immediately and others can take up to a few days. Keep your needs and timeframe in mind so you choose the best mobile money app for you. 

How We Chose the Best Money Transfer Apps

We researched 13 money transfer apps. First, we took a look at each app's store ratings, then tested each app for ease of use and transaction speed. We also analyzed each app's compatible systems and narrowed our search by evaluating each app's security features. We then calculated each app's minimum and maximum transfer amounts. 

We rounded out the list by taking a look at fees and the flexibility within each transfer option and gave final preference to apps that offer unique features.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. The Wall Street Journal. "Venmo’s Debt-Collection Practices Probed by CFPB." Accessed April 12, 2021.